Playing Pokemon Go in and East of Tokyo

It might sound bizarre that Japan was one of the last in line to gain access to Pokemon Go, but unfortunately that was the case! On 22nd July (perhaps in time with summer vacation?), players in Japan were finally able to enjoy the smartphone game that was delighting fans across the world. As someone who has been a fan of Pokemon since 1999, this release couldn’t come quick enough for me.

I live just outside Tokyo, in Chiba, but I work in Tokyo and spend my days off there. Tons of people claimed that Pokemon Go helped them to discover all sorts about their hometowns and local haunts, so I was curious if it would have the same effect in Tokyo’s surrounding areas. Naturally, Tokyo itself is a total hotspot for Pokemon nests (thanks for all the Magmars, Ueno Park!) and Pokestops.

However, I was charmed by the simplicity and the quaintness of some Pokestops out of Tokyo’s way, and wanted to share some. It’s a side of Japan that can often be drowned out by the bustling excitement of Tokyo. Nonetheless, one of the things I love about Japan is that they always strive to go the extra mile, no matter the location – whether it’s a department store, a local park or just adding some decor to a store sign that people can admire. I was warmed to see these efforts extended to outside Tokyo, in more residential places like Saitama and Chiba.

Below are a little snippet of images I’ve gathered over the last 7 days. Thanks to Pokemon Go, I’ve been able to admire some neat (and interesting!) sights I may have missed.

These may seem simple, but for me they definitely captured something that makes Japan special. In the most unassuming areas, there are thoughtful pieces like plaques on the pavement and cute statues. Or, like the ‘Tiny park for tiny children’, the name translation is just plain sweet.

Thank you for reading!

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